Thursday, 27 February 2014


Its been a slow old month, with wind and rain featuring heavily, meaning that I haven't been out ringing much, which is annoying, but the birding has still been good, despite not being able to get out much. This month has seen me doing a lot of overtime at work due to lots of football games going on sale and me needing more money. I have also just moved house which alog with work has resulted in only a few trips out with the bins this month.

I'd hoped to add to the Notts yearlist this month, with some good wintering birds still in the county, but they've either been too far away or I've been otherwise engaged. This is the reason I have missed Gannet and Kittiwake off my notts list and several other good birds. And I still haven't been up to bag a Hawfinch. Damn.

I have however mopped up a few birds closer to home, with a trip to Attenborough on the 2nd bagging me 4 species but missing out on Bittern, and a Barn Owl and Little Owl we seen and heard respectively on an unsuccessful (windy) ringing trip that morning. A ringing trip to Brackenhurst later in the month resulted in Raven being added to the list, a tricky bird this end of the county, so a welcome addition.

The advantage of moving house has meant I now have a garden and there seems to be a good range of species about, including a male Blackcap that made a nice early entry into the yearlist. Its nice to see there's plenty of Goldfinches about the garden too, and I've heard some House Sparrows down the road, so hopefully I'll entice them in too, not had them in the garden before, strangely.

In the latter half of February I have been concentrating my efforts at Holme Pierrepont and have managed to add Red-crested Pochard and the first returning Oystercatchers to the year tally too. I am keeping track of what I see here too this year as part of the 'Patchwork Challenge'
This month has seen me add 8 species to the list, including some 'easy' birds which have been elusive at the beginning of the year, such as Snipe, Shoveler and Cetti's Warbler. Snipe have been elusive this year, maybe due to the amount of water there is everywhere, meaning they're more spread out. On the last 2 visits I have managed to flush a few though, so its good to have them back. Cetti's Warbler, which I managed to pinpoint around 3 territories of before xmas, have also been very quiet, but they've just started siging again in the last week or so. Water Rail, another common bird on site, continues to elude me. I need to stomp round the reedbeds a bit more I think.
 I was lucky enough to have a wander round the A52 pit with another birder on the 17th too, which got me my first egrets of the year, as well as my first ever sighting of Red-crested Pochard for the site. I paid the site a visit at dusk last night, folwing a tip-off about the possibility of some roosting Whooper Swans, but was unsuccessful, it was made worthwhile however by seeing a Barn Owl hunting, at one point flying a few metres directly above me. Its the first I've seen on patch since summer, so I was proper pleased.

The Notts 2014 list stands at 95 birds... more than I'd imagined at this point in the year!
The HP 2014 list stands at 73... getting there slowly! I only had 94 for the whole of 2013 so not too bad really, and this is the first year i'm properly having a go at it. Access to the A52 pit would help but I'm making the best of it!